How To Take Real Estate Photos With an iPhone
Technology has definitely gotten more and more impressive over the years. With companies regularly developing state of the art devices that can do more with less, you can only imagine the things we can achieve.
One company that is famous for regularly upgrading its products is Apple, and needless to say, the iPhone has a spectacular camera built into the system. The photos are vivid, sharp, and can be taken in high resolution. In fact, some businesses opt to shoot their products with an iPhone camera because it can save you money, time, resources, and still get you quality photos.
If you are looking into taking DIY iPhone real estate photos, then we have the perfect set of guidelines to help get you started.
iPhone Real Estate Photography
While we are not here to devalue the art of professional DSLR photography, we are here to tell you that taking photos of your real estate property using an iPhone will yield somewhat similar results compared to if you had a full set up with you. The main difference between the two experiences would be that iPhone real estate photography has a much faster set up, process, and postproduction experience. This makes it all the more possible for real estate agents to achieve great shots.
The iPhone has highly advanced built-in shooting modes, lenses, and tools that can help you easily take high quality photos. The same basic photography and real estate photography techniques will generally still apply. We discuss these in detail below.
How to Take Real Estate Photos With an iPhone?
Technically speaking, the latest models have the most advanced tools and tricks to it. However, it does not mean that iPhones that are a tad bit dated can no longer hold value when it comes to real estate photography.
Try these out with your iPhone and see how well it does taking your DIY shots!
Master the iPhone Basics
Before anything else, first ensure that you know your device well enough to use it for this purpose. Take time to really study the features your camera offers, the different ways to utilize them, and what tools you can maximize for your listing’s images.
- Some of the essentials you need to feel comfortable using are:
- Learning how to turn on, turn off, and properly use the flash
- Zooming in and out
- Adjusting the settings for low-light environments
- Capturing images in High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode
Another thing to practice is keeping your fingers off the lenses. This may sound obvious and silly to point out, but you would be surprised how many potentially good photos have been ruined by a little photo-bombing limb in the corner. Sometimes, this can happen if the light source is reflecting off your screen and you cannot properly see the image when taking the shot.
Stage The Space Just Right
While you are practicing your iPhone photography skills, we suggest you practice your space staging as well. How your space is arranged and translated through the image can heavily impact how potential buyers feel about your listing. Make it feel more relatable, more lived in, and do not forget to highlight its best features.
Some ways to properly stage the space are:
- Decluttering the surfaces of your interiors by ensuring there are no personal or unnecessary items in the shot.
- Removing small pieces of furniture, or overly personal furniture, to translate the flow of the room and let it “breathe”
- Removing throw rugs in small spaces in order to make the floors seem larger.
- Finding a way to let more natural light in.
- Cleaning the place up in general.
The spaces do not need to be spotless, but they have to look attractive enough that someone would want to eventually live there and make it their own.
Composing A Great Shot
Just like humans, spaces have their good angles as well. Studying the area you are photographing and ensuring that you highlight its best features is how you get your winning shot.
A good tip when it comes to composing your shot is by making the room seem spacious – but not too big that it becomes unrealistic, of course. This would mean taking photos from the corner and getting a wide view of the room.
Also consider where the light sources are situated and use them to your advantage. Take shots of naturally well-lit areas whenever you can since this produces warmer and cozier vibes.
Lastly, use the power of thirds when composing your shot. A good way to do this is by situating your furniture at the one-third mark of a horizontal view, on either side of your photo. Be mindful of the horizontal lines and keep them leveled with the rest of your composition.
Use A Third Party App To Edit
As much as we want to get everything in the shot, we cannot expect perfection each time. This is the beauty of photo editing apps, and there is nothing wrong with adjusting or correcting your photos to make them look even better.
There are many apps that you can download right on your iPhone to enhance photos. In fact, there are some specifically developed to help with real estate images such as Photomatix Real Estate Camera, Exposio Real Estate Camera, and RE/MAX Quebec Camera.
Other more general tools such as Snapseed, VSCO, Night Camera, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop Express, and the like also do a wonderful job.
Should you prefer to edit them in your laptop because that is what you’re most comfortable with then by all means go for it! We recommend Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop if you haven’t tried those out yet.
Consider investing In External Lenses
Yes, mobile phones have external lenses too! They are designed to clip on to your phones and seamlessly take shots as if the lenses were built right in.
We recommend getting an external 18-millimeter wide-angle attachment for this purpose. It takes realistic results, hardly distorts the image, and can get an ample amount of details in.
Take Shots With Lights On and Off!
Now that we have covered the iPhone-specific tips, let’s move forward with the general photography techniques to keep in mind. The first, and one of the most important, is mind your lighting.
When taking a photograph on the interior, first take it with the lights off, and then again with the lights on. This will help you determine whether or not you need more lighting, if your shot looks good with artificial light, or if you can make do with just the light coming in naturally.
Bring A Tripod
A tripod is an ultimate essential when taking photos. It has many advantages to it, with our top 3 being:
- It helps keep your photos crisp and sharp
- It helps let the natural light come through to the camera sensor
- It makes setup easier and HDR photography possible
Most especially when shooting in a low-light environment or spaces that lack a little more illumination, a tripod allows you to set up a longer shutter speed and reduce camera shake.
Adjust Horizon Line, White Balance, and Shadows in Editing
We briefly mentioned how you should always consider your horizontal lines in the shot, and if you were not able to get it leveled when shooting, you can most definitely fix it in post. You can easily straighten, crop, and balance your composition to make for a more pleasing image.
Next, play with the highlights and shadows in your photograph. Ensure that both are just right to get all the details in. Last, but not the least, always color correct your images by utilizing the white balance tool. This can drastically improve your shots in just one or two clicks.
Pay Attention To Composition
When we are casually outside, it tends to become muscle memory to pull your iPhone out and start snapping away. When it comes to real estate, or business in general, it pays to slow down and think about your composition a little more. By getting this settled from the start, there will be less retakes and editing to do.
Some of the tips that we have briefly mentioned to support are:
- Practice the rule of thirds
- Highlight the room’s best features
- Find an angle that makes it look spacious and emphasizes the flow of the room
- Clean up, move around furniture, and stage the shot
- Find the best angle for your natural light
Shoot On Bright Days (When The Light Is Constant)
We mention factors that affect lighting a lot because it really is one of the key factors into getting a good shot. The most recommended source of light, especially for interior shots, is natural light. In order to maximize this, you need to know the optimal times of the day you should be shooting.
Always stay up to date on the weather during your shoot day and try to get most of your shots in the middle of the day while it is bright out. The light could potentially change by the hour so be sure you are ready to adjust as it goes along.
Show Off The Best Part Of The Room
Questions to ask when figuring out what the best part of the room are:
What is an important feature in this room?
What do I want to show off within the space?
Is that a good centerpiece?
Will the buyer feel intrigued to see it in person?
Did I get too much ceiling? Instead focus on the middle subject and floor
The Wide-Angle Lens
More often than not, professional photographers recommend shooting with lenses between 10 to 35 millimeters. While this may have been difficult to achieve with an iPhone in the past, it is most definitely possible today.
There are many wide-angle lens options on the market that are interchangeable, portable, and even waterproof.
Photograph Two Walls Whenever Possible
Real estate photos consisting of only one side of the room (or one wall) are fine. However, they sometimes look a little flat, small, and lacking in depth, depending on your staging.
Getting images with three walls may not always work out for the best, either, depending on your angling and staging. They make the space look a bit too narrow by compressing onto one another.
Capturing your images with two walls is the balance you want to achieve. It makes the space look more three-dimensional, has a better composition, and displays the room in a more inviting way.
Shoot In RAW For Flexible Files (And Enhanced Editing)
Shooting in RAW format allows you to capture the most detail in your images, which in turn gives you the most flexibility when it comes to editing. Unlike JPEG and HEIC files, RAW images hold all the information within the shot, making it easier for you to edit highlights, shadows, and other details that would otherwise be compromised with JPEG or HEIC.
Turn on HDR Mode For Improved Dynamic Range
Getting in all the details you can is crucial when it comes to real estate photos. Sometimes it can pose a challenge when the lighting is full of extremes:
A great way to ensure you do not miss out on any of these details is by shooting with HDR technology. Thanks to advanced technology, your iPhone should very well have this feature built-in.
HDR mode is when your camera shoots multiple photos at different exposure levels, and then blends them together to include all of the nitty-gritty details in one shot. You will ultimately end up with a perfectly exposed image, showcasing a good balance between the dark and bright areas.
Find out how to activate your iPhone’s HDR capability today!
Add Foreground Interest for Increased Depth
An important factor in getting the composition right in your photo is arranging the elements to formulate enough depth and flow. A simple way to do so is by including something interesting on the foreground such as a table, chair, couch, and the like.
This helps draw the viewer’s eyes into the frame and naturally move through the foreground down to the back. By adding this depth and flow, you add volume to your home and a better opportunity for your viewers to envision themselves in the scene.
Alternate Between A Standard And Wide Lens To Convey Space
One of your main goals when photographing your listing is showing off all its best features, and sometimes that would mean displaying just how spacious and roomy it is.
When trying to promote a home, it is not suggested to leave things to the imagination. The more details, corners, and spaces you include in the series of photos, the better. You can achieve this by using a wide-angle lens and shooting from the back or corner of the room.
The lens of most iPhones already offers a relatively wide angle, which could work in your favor. This can take many winning shots without the need for external tools. However, if you want to achieve even more depth and space, get some images using an external ultra-wide lens as well.
Real Estate Photography on iPhone: Conclusion
Taking professional real estate photos using an iPhone is definitely achievable and by practicing the above set of guidelines, you are sure to get your hero shot each time.
If we were to leave you with one last tip, it would be to mind your battery. Adjusting the lights, reviewing shots, taking multiple photos – this can all drain the battery quickly. When shooting with a DSLR, photographers always bring an extra battery pack or two to ensure you do not run out of juice in the middle of a photo shoot. You can guarantee enough battery life with your iPhone through:
Bring a charging cable (for both an outlet and your car)
Bring a power bank (and make sure it is fully charged)
Always charge your phone up to 100% before a shoot